Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions to affect Americans. In light of this diagnosis, healthcare providers are now well aware of the need for cooperation among various specialties. The unsettled nature of blood sugar in diabetic patients present a risk for some secondary conditions, from neuropathy to vision loss. Fortunately, when it comes to eye health, early and consistent management of both diabetes and ocular integrity can help doctors preserve patients’ vision.
The Retina, the Macula, and Diabetes
One of the most common eye diseases to occur secondary to diabetes is retinopathy. Referred to as diabetic retinopathy, this condition first occurs in a non-proliferative manner. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the early indication that damage has occurred in the blood vessels of the retina. There are typically no symptoms that manifest during this early stage of diabetic eye disease. However, it is at this stage when the best chance of vision preservation exists. What this means for the diabetic patient is that routine, comprehensive eye exams need to be obtained as recommended by either an eye doctor or a general health practitioner.
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is characterized by microscopic bulges in the blood vessels that feed the retina. While the weakening of these vessels does not pose an immediate threat to vision, there is an associated risk because untreated, the weakness and damage in retinal blood vessels will worsen. This may result in poor blood flow or the leakage of blood and fluid into the tissue surrounding the retina. This is referred to as macular edema.
Macular edema is swelling in the macula around the retina. Because macular edema coincides with micro-aneurysms or bleeding of the retinal blood vessels, symptoms may occur and should indicate a need for prompt eye care. If you notice wavy or blurry central vision, schedule a consultation and examination at Vitreo Retinal Surgery. A minor laser procedure can stop current bleeding, and a treatment plan developed to lower the risk of future bleeds.